Governor Luis Fortuno is calling for a special legislative session to pass a resolution urging President Obama and the U.S. Congress to take action on Puerto Rico’s decision to pursue statehood.
In announcing this special session, Fortuno noted that President Obama pledged to support the decision of the Puerto Rican people. With clear majorities rejecting the status quo and favoring statehood as their preferred alternative, Puerto Rico has made a decision. The White House has already confirmed that “the results (of the plebiscite) were clear,” and has called upon Congress to take action.
Now it is up to the Congress to admit Puerto Rico as a state. David Agnew and Tony West, who are the co-chairs of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico, released a joint statement saying that they “will work with Congress to provide the people of Puerto Rico a clear process that would establish ways that Puerto Ricans could determine their status.” A number of other individuals and organizations have also called for action.
Although there have been several pieces of federal legislation over the past years addressing Puerto Rico’s status as a territory, this is the first time that many members of Congress are being made aware of America’s imperfect democracy as applied to its most populated territory. A Puerto Rican resolution to Congress could serve to strengthen the plebiscite’s message and address its results directly to Congress, the entity that now has the authority to act. A territory of 3.7 million U.S. citizens has voted; Governor Fortuno now seeks to build on those results.